Egyptian Chronicles: Forget About the Mercedes Bribe , We Have Got Now The Finnish bribe !!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Forget About the Mercedes Bribe , We Have Got Now The Finnish bribe !!

Do You remember the Mercedes bribe ?? Do You remember that both American and Egyptian officials promised us to reveal that official in the ministry of , well forget about it because we have much worse scandal : The Finnish bribe.

Yes the Finnish bribe which probably you have not heard anything about because there is another imposed gag order to all media channels to avoid speaking about it directly except after lots and lots of editing that change the whole truth 180 degrees.

What is worse than this is that it is very old scandal and what is worst is that the army is involved , yes our Egyptian army or rather again the ministry of military production again is involved and this is why there is a gag order. Unlike what is rarely published in our press this case from A to Z is not from the jurisdiction of our general attorney but is from the jurisdiction of the army general attorney.

It is dangerous because we are not speaking about fire engines but defense system technologies from year 1999. In 1999 Egypt represented by the ministry of military production signed a technology transfer deal with Finnish Patria company through which Egypt could manufacture Finnish designed Howitzer artillery piece to be specific the Howitzer 155 GH 52 APU locally. It was an excellent deal according to what read and found as we can upgrade our old tanks.

Then in 2008 the Finnish government open an investigation about certain deals between Patria and Slovenia , through investigation it turned out the majority stated owned Patria officials did not bribe the Slovenian officials only but also the Egyptian officials. In 2008 Egyptian news portal “Egypt News” mentioned the matter but did not get deeply in it. The investigation in the deal with Egypt started on 18th of May 2008 and Egypt officially refused to cooperate. In July 2008 a 47-year-old Egyptian woman, who was employed by a local agent used by Patria was arrested for further investigation. Now if it were a simple bribery case which is common in the arms trade and deals , one would not care especially that the deal seemed to be good for us but in 2007 we find a Finnish Patria former military adviser who worked in that deal revealing that he took part in concealing the problems of that artillery piece in question , the Partia CEO then  denied those dangerous allegations still resigned  a year later when more evidences began to mount against Patria.

Some will say that this deal is small and there is a little harm for Egypt in it because it was only a technology transfer deal from 11 years ago , well if this is so why the matter has been brought up by Finland up till now considering the fact that Patria is their own company !!?? Why has the Egyptian regime declined to participate in the investigation up till now ?? I think the answer of the first question was in the testimony of that former adviser above “We kept our Egyptian friends in the dark” , the Finnish are more honest and respectable than our government while the answer of the second question is well known to everybody in Egypt !!

Aside from the gag order on mainstream media the mentions of that Howirtez thing seemed to be removed from the newspapers archives , for instance this post in Defense forum from 2008 quoted a news about a conference attended by Sayid Mashal , the current minister of military production from Al Ahram in 2006 , interesting enough there were two lines including one related to the Howirtez that were removed from Al Ahram recently !!

You can read a good summary about the case in Wikipedia , of course it focuses on Slovenia because Egypt has not cooperated yet officially. Last year the ex-PM of Slovenia was interrogated in the deal between him and his country.

I hate to speak about this but the fact that our army is involved in this scandal makes me worry more and more than before on both the army and the national security, the one who takes a bribe to favor a certain defense system over the other can sell his country’s secrets not to mention God only knows how effective this defense system can be in protecting our country.

We do not ask the army to announce any names , the ministry of defense and the ministry of military production can cooperate with the Finnish authorities secretly but the issue here that they do not want to cooperate and this is why we know from Finland. It is no use to impose a gag order and use old rusty laws when everything is available online for anyone to read.

Sources :

I have read about this scandal from weeks now but did not have further information yet thanks  to Islam Saeed comprehensive tweet we know more now. Of course the gentlemen in defense forums know about this scandal with more technical details that I can’t comprehend.

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